From Salvatore Ferragamo’s return to its birthplace to Claire Waight Keller’s first menswear collection as artistic director for Givenchy, Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy has been lit AF this year. If Pitti Uomo 96 isn’t already flocking with Pitti Peacocks, Gucci takes our eyes off all things fashion to announce their plans to restore the Boboli Garden.
A historic garden surrounding Palazo Pitti and former palace of the Grand Dukes in the Florentine Oltrarno, the Boboli Garden is undergoing reconstruction and you, my friend, can witness the epic makeover. What was rarely accessible to visitors, Giardino della Botanica Superiore (or Upper Botanic Garden) is now open to all on weekdays from 9am to 1pm. Take a morning stroll in this romantic, one-hectare garden to admire the hundreds of species of tropical and subtropical aquatic plants and colourful flowerbeds. Other areas of the park, including the Fountain of the Apes and the historic baths of Meridiana and Annalena, will also be refurbished.
The pathways of the park will also feature new Pietra Serena stone benches from the Santa Brigida quarries on the Florentine hills, while restorations of the statues of the garden—Hera and Pudicizia—were recently completed. Still in the works are several other aspects of the Boboli Gardens, including the pièce de résistance of Boboli, the Garden of Camellias.
In addition to the remodelling projects, the Primavera di Boboli (or Boboli Spring) project is also ongoing. Gucci has donated 2 million euros to work on the Boboli Garden’s drainage system, purchase of new pottery as well as restorations of the orchid greenhouse and aquatic plants basin. To round things up on a sweet note, a gelato shop—Gelateria Buontalenti—is set in stone. The Gelateria will be located in the upper part of the park. They may even offer bitter oranges as a potential gelato flavour, sourced fresh from the orange trees inside the Boboli Garden.
Another Florentine garden that's been getting a remodel—albeit a slight one—is the Gucci Garden that's housed in the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria.
The brainchild of Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci Garden Galleria unveils new exhibits and exclusive creations by artist Livia Carpenzano in its boutique. With spaces specially curated by critic Maria Luisa Frisa, expect a fresh approach in displaying artefacts and documents in the Gucci Garden Galleria. The new series of exhibits will even hijack sections of the galleries to illustrate the evolving imagination of Alessandro Michele and the juxtaposition of his personal memories and those of the house.
Level One: Détournement, Bagology and Cosmorama
You’ll be greeted by Détournement when you first step into level one of Gucci Garden Galleria, where decontextualised elements from the house are placed in a circle, with objects torn from their own history. The Gucci alphabet is disassembled and reassembled, while the iridescent logo is displayed in various formats—to the point that it loses its original features. The significance of this exhibit is to pay tribute to Alessandro Michele’s visionary inclusiveness that gave rise to the brand’s flexibility and freedom from conventional restrictions, creating new meanings for the fashion house with references to other cultural stories.
Designed by Japanese artist Yuko Higuchi, the room showcasing Détournement features a large, mythical creature with many of the house’s motifs—think green-red-green web striped ribbon, interlocking Gs, kingsnake, as well as flowers and insects to emulate an actual garden.
“I drew the beast as if it is offering a flower, in a setting evoking the wonderful flowers and plants of a Gucci Garden. The creature comes from my imagination and I see it as a type of dragon. The image was also inspired by the idea of the Shiranui, the optical phenomenon of supernatural-looking fire that you sometimes get over water, and which I feel brings great joy,” Higuchi explained.
Leading from the room containing Détournement is Bagology, a room that revolves around, well, bags. Here, you’ll witness how different creative directors have interpreted the style of the house from the selected bags, in chronological order from the '50s to the present.
Level one closes with Cosmorama which articulates the theme of the journey, given that Gucci came from a fascination with travel and wanderlust. The heart of this room is an eclectic inventory of bags, luggage, hat boxes, beauty cases and trunks—essentials of the past Gucci clients that were also jet-setters.
Level Two: Ouroboros, Cosmic Colours and Jardin d’Hiver
Make your way up to level two and you’ll be greeted by two vastly different motifs; Ouroboros echoes the ancient symbol of a snake biting its tail, reactivated in recent Gucci brand narratives. This mysterious exhibition snakes through Gucci’s heritage, hosting pieces such as feathered jeans, a golden armour-like gown, a long black dress with a serpent slithering down the body and more modern pieces with the iconic Flora motif.
The next room, Cosmic Colours explores a colour palette—Neptune green, sun glow, space blue and cosmic red—that runs through the Gucci collections, with certain house artefacts making a comeback from the archives.
The final room, Jardin d’Hiver, is an extension of the archives, with the introduction of objects and documents surrounded by the white version of the Gucci Tian wallpaper. Display cases mimics a collection of aviaries, creating the effect of an eccentric winter garden which explores the association between nature and the house.
Don't forget to check out the Gucci Garden Store
Snag yourself an exclusive item from the Gucci Garden boutique—almost all the products on sale are specially created for the store and are not available anywhere else in the world; exclusive. You'll find many shoe styles here that are created with an interior embellished with the Garden Floral design, as well as newly launched renaissance-style graphics in red, green and gold on an ecru background.
Gucci Garden Galleria is open from 10am to 11:30pm (last entry 10:30pm). See more of the different rooms in the gallery above or check out Gucci Garden Galleria here.